Monthly Archives: May 2010

Cactus Club Cafe, don’t let me down Feenie!!!!

Ah the Cactus club in Delta, I remember it well. Located at 7907 120th Street, it was the first Cactus Club I ever ate at back when they had a slightly different approach to the restaurant business. I remember a very western/cowboy inspired place with peanuts on each table that you ate and threw the shells on the floor. They made you stand on your chair on your birthday and everyone in the place sang to you, much to my friend Tina’s embarrassment.

Since then the Cactus Club Cafe has matured into an upper mid level chain with very modern, trendy decor, good food and great atmosphere. What better place to grab lunch with my dad and my uncle after a rough morning of bike helmet shopping?

Local celebrity chef Rob Feenie joined the Cactus Club team a couple of years back and there are a few “signature dishes” that have been developed by Rob and his team and I was looking forward to giving them a try. My uncle decided to order dessert first, because as he says, if you order it first you always have room for it…dangerously smart man he is. He ordered the chocolate peanut butter crunch bar for us to share and it was very good, but dessert isn’t my thing so I won’t go into detail about it other than to say if you like chocolate, you should get one.

I ordered the short rib sandwich with fries, my dad ordered the tuna tatake and my uncle the mini burgers. The tuna looked good as did the mini burgers but I can’t help but wonder why all three of the burgers come dressed the same? In my ever so humble opinion if you have three small burgers they should be dressed differently. Why not just order one regular sized burger if they all taste the same?

My short rib sandwich, however, was very good. The meat is braised with caramelized onions, beef jus and emmental cheese on toasted sourdough. The texture of the tender beef with the crisp sourdough  is amazing. Emmental cheese is one of my favorites and caramelized onions add a sweetness that balances out the salt perfectly. This is a Feenie “signature dish” and it is good enough to make me want to go back and try the rest of them very soon.

Back on the road on Monday, who knows where lunch will be? Stay tuned.


Umi Sushi Express

For the better part of this week I’ve been stationed downtown near the new convention centre. I’m with a crew of 5 other guys so lunch has been limited to the food court a the Waterfront Centre. Not the most diverse place to eat…

Yesterday was my birthday and I was feeling a little tired. I really wasn’t into waiting in line so I headed over to Umi Sushi Express as I noticed the line was moving quickly. They had a variety of pre made sushi in containers as well as some hot items made to order.

I chose the quicker option (premade) which was a California roll and 3 pieces of nigiri, one ebi, one tuna and one salmon. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was not overly impressed.

The California roll was overpowered by a strong imitation crab taste which was a shame as the texture was pretty good. The nigiri was a total disaster. All 3 types of fish had obviously been frozen and thawed more than once. They had an unwelcome fishy taste and the rice was mushy.

Maybe I should have known better. Maybe I only have myself to blame for ordering premade sushi. In Vancouver one expects decent sushi where ever they go, well maybe almost everywhere.


Rough start

Today was going to be a good day. Went for the first ride of the year on my mountain bike yesterday, spent tons of time getting to know my daughter over the weekend, and my dog was getting a bath. All that momentum came grinding to a halt when I left for work.

I walked out to my truck at my at my usual time of way to early AM to find that it had been broken in to. I’ve only had the truck for about 4 weeks and it’s still brand new so I was extra pissed about it. The ignition had been messed with and a few things taken, but at least the windows weren’t smashed like the 3 cars parked behind me!

I made the necessary phone calls to work, the police, and my insurance provider and went back in the house to let my wife know what was going on. I picked up my daughter and my anger instantly disappeared. This business of being a dad is pretty great.

I managed to get the truck started and headed to the local body shop, which as luck would have it didn’t open until 8AM. Thankfully there’s a Tim Hortons in the same parking lot.

Tim Hortons and I have had an on and off relationship over the years but lately I had figured out that for the money there was no better cup of coffee around. I had gone through my Starbucks faze and drank nothing but americanos for a couple years but I found out that they have more caffeine than a can of Red Bull. Yikes.

A large double double and a bagel with cream cheese later, the body shop was open and my truck was on the road to recovery. So what point am I trying to make here? When your day seems like it’s headed straight down the crapper at the speed of light, grab a good cup of coffee and start again, it can only get better from there.


Long weekend at home!!!!

OK so I haven’t gone out to eat anything this weekend but I feel the need to share a creation of mine. My wife, my daughter and I went over to the in law’s place for dinner on Saturday night for a pre-birthday get together for my upcoming birthday. Pork ribs were on the menu, slow cooked in my mother in law’s home-made BBQ sauce and then finished on the grill for a couple of hours over some smoky wood chips.

They were quite good, and as usual there was plenty left over for us to take home, which I was very eager to do. Now I know that really great ribs should be very tender but NOT be falling off the bone when you pick them up, however these ribs were completely falling apart at the slightest touch, not to say that they weren’t great, but they gave me an idea.

The meat had a great crust on it and the next day I pulled all the leftover racks out of the fridge and set about dismantling them. I carefully removed all the bones and cartilage and trimmed away most of the fat. I put the meat in a stainless bowl and with two forks I shredded it pulled pork style. Now I love pulled pork just as much as the next guy, and I eat at Memphis Blues in Vancouver at least once a month. However pulled pork has always lacked something for me. I think it’s the insistence that is be dripping with sauce. Sauce is good, sauce is not what I wanted.

I took a deep sided frying pan and put a little cooking oil in it. I added a little fresh ground pepper to the meat and once the oil was hot I added the pork. I tossed it like a stir fry until it had gone a little crispy. That was what pulled pork was missing, a little crunch!!!!  I took two Italiano whole wheat buns and steamed them quickly so they were nice and soft and able to be squished around the meat. Maille Dijon mustard on the bottom, Mayonnaise on the top. That’s it, pork perfection.

It had all the melt in your mouth tenderness of pulled pork, with a fantastic little crunch the can’t be described, and it didn’t require a bib or a roll of paper towel to eat it. Pictures next time. I promise.

Until next time,